The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This is the best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe! Made creamy and extra cheesy with two types of cheese and super fast with just a 5-minute cook time. It’s such a simple, cozy comfort food that anyone can make with no-fuss ingredients and barely any time!

finished macaroni and cheese spooned into dish

My Kids Favorite Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

You can’t beat mac and cheese, but mac and cheese that only takes 4 minutes to cook? I think that’s worth ditching the old box and going homemade! Plus, there’s really no match for the flavors of freshly melted cheddar and parmesan cheese. It’s making me hungry just writing about it! This is my family’s favorite mac and cheese because it’s simple, cozy, extra-cheesy and creamy, and it’s just about the easiest mac and cheese to make.

The Instant Pot is wonderful, isn’t it? It speeds up just about any dish without sacrificing flavor or texture. I love turning to this recipe when we just want a simple comfort meal, don’t want to spend a ton of time prepping and cooking, and don’t have a bunch of groceries on hand. It’s a GREAT end-of-the-week, we-made-it-to-the-weekend meal, if I do say so myself!

cream and egg being poured into instant pot on top of cooked macaroni

Why Make Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot?

Forget the pot, lid, and colander necessary to make regular mac and cheese! Instant Pot mac and cheese is a one-pot meal (no draining required) that comes together way more quickly than the stovetop version! Just add the ingredients to the pot, turn it on for 4 minutes (yes, 4!), and add the cheese and some extra flavors after it’s done. Voila! Mac and cheese in no time.

Recipe Ingredients:

Mac and cheese is a classic comfort dish, and you just need a handful of unfussy ingredients to make it!

Elbow macaroni: Elbow noodles are the classic macaroni shape!

Chicken broth: Chicken broth is what cooks the noodles down and absorbs extra flavor into them.

Butter: Butter adds a necessary richness and creaminess.

Garlic powder, salt & pepper: These seasonings add a kick of flavor!

Cream: Cream’s added after the noodles cook, along with egg, to thicken and add more creaminess to the dish.

Egg: The egg thickens the noodles to they aren’t runny.

Mustard powder: Mustard powder isn’t necessary, but it adds the nicest color and you can’t taste it at all!

Cheddar and parmesan cheese: I love using these two cheeses, but feel free to play with whatever cheese you love!

collate of steps to make mac and cheese in the instant pot raw noodles, through cooked noodles

How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese:

  1. Add the macaroni noodles to your Instant Pot insert.
  2. Add the broth, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place lid on the Instant Pot; set the valve to sealing.
  4. Press the pressure cook button; select a 4-minute cook time (high pressure).
  5. Beat the cream, egg, and dry mustard in a bowl.
  6. Grate the cheeses and set aside.
  7. Do a quick pressure release when it’s done cooking.
  8. Stir the noodles, add the cream mixture, and stir to combine well.
  9. Add the cheeses in 3 batches, letting the cheese melt after each addition.

Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese:

You really can’t mess up Instant Pot mac and cheese, but here are a few pointers to keep in mind!

  • Use an 8-quart Instant Pot if you can. If you use a 6-quart, make sure to adjust your cook time to 5 minutes instead of 4.
  • Cream is the best texture. If you only have milk, you can use it in the recipe, but cream creates the silkiest texture.
  • Mustard powder is optional but recommended. You don’t need it, but it adds the nicest color and you can’t taste it!

macaroni with melted cheese inside instant pot bowl

What Kinds of Cheese Are Best?

I prefer a high-quality sharp cheddar cheese plus a bit of parmesan to balance it out! However, you can play with really any types of cheese that you love! Gouda, provolone, and pepper jack would also be tasty options.

What Kinds of Noodles Can I Use?

I recommend using macaroni elbows because they’re just classic and hold onto the cheese so well! You can also use any other small noodles, like penne, shells, or orecchiette.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers:

Leftover mac and cheese is just as good as the fresh stuff, if you ask me! Store the cooled noodles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 4 months. To reheat, let frozen noodles thaw in the fridge overnight. Place thawed mac and cheese in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through, about 10 minutes. If it seems dry, feel free to add a splash of chicken broth or cream (about a tablespoon) to the noodles as you warm them up.

macaroni on white plate

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creamy macaroni and cheese on plate

The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x

Description

This is the best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe! Made creamy and extra cheesy with two types of cheese and super fast with just a 5-minute cook time.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni, 16 ounces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional but recommended
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 2 ounces block Parmesan cheese, shredded (scant 1 cup)
  • Additional cream, for thinning as needed
  • Additional salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the macaroni noodles to your Instant Pot insert. Add the broth, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Place lid on the Instant Pot, and set the valve to sealing. Press the pressure cook button, and then select a 4-minute cook time (high pressure).
  3. While the noodles are cooking, add the cream, egg, and dry mustard to a small bowl, and beat with a fork to combine well. Grate the cheeses and set aside.
  4. When the pot has finished cooking, do a quick pressure release.
  5. When you can open the lid, do so carefully. Stir the noodles, add the cream mixture, and stir to combine well.
  6. Add the cheeses in 3 batches, stirring well and letting the cheese melt after each addition.
  7. When the cheese is melted adjust the texture if needed with additional cream (I don’t normally need to, but you can add a few tablespoons to thin it out a little).
  8. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and serve right away.

Notes

  • I have found that an 8-quart Instant Pot takes a little longer to come to pressure than a 6-quart (it has a larger area to pressurize). If you are using a 6-quart Instant Pot and your noodles aren’t fully done, feel free to add 1 minute to the cook time, so that it’s cooking for 5 minutes instead of 4. The 4 minutes is perfect for an 8-quart.
  • You can change up the cheese and play with what you like and prefer. I really like lots of high-quality cheddar and just a little extra Parmesan for balance.
  • The mustard powder is optional, but I love using it for mac and cheese. It brightens the noodles in all the right ways and doesn’t taste like mustard when it’s all mixed in.
  • You can use milk in this recipe in a pinch, though the cream has the best texture. It also works with canned milk.
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339.2 Fat: 26.6g Cholesterol: 101.8mg Sodium: 1,213mg Carbohydrates: 11.3g Sugars: 1.8g Protein: 14g Vitamin A: 27µg Vitamin C: 1mg

Keywords: Instant Pot mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese recipe,

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Caitlin Miller

I tried this last night and HAD to share my leftovers! I’m at home by myself a lot since my husband travels for work often, so I love making simple things like this that reheat well. Boy let me tell you, this was so simple and SO yummy! It’s the next day and I’m legit craving it sitting at my desk. I brought some leftovers to a coworker and she loved it as well and asked for the recipe. I will definitely be adding this to my recipe binder!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.